If you've spent the last few months struggling with a pesky bump, flaky spot, or other recent growth on your eyelid or the skin just around your eye, you may be alarmed to learn that this seemingly harmless growth is actually a type of skin cancer -- basal cell carcinoma. Although this cancer is slow-growing and has a very high survival rate compared to other types of skin cancer, the idea of having a visible cancerous growth near your eye can be disconcerting. While you may want nothing more than to be rid of this cancerous growth as soon as possible, having this cancer surgically removed isn't always the best initial treatment option. Read on to learn more about basal cell carcinoma and what you'll want to consider if your cancerous spot is located on or near your eye.
How is basal cell carcinoma usually treated?
Basal cell carcinoma is most frequently found on those who are middle-aged or older and had a substantial amount of sun exposure (without the use of sunglasses) as children or teens. This means that the sun exposure that causes one or more cells in your eyelid to go rogue and form a cancerous growth happens decades before the tumor begins to grow, and it can take years after growth begins for you to even notice your carcinoma. Even if you go some time without taking action to remove your carcinoma, it's unlikely you'll suffer too many adverse effects or the cancer will metastasize in the meantime (although you may notice your bump growing larger).
At some point, you'll need to have the growth removed to prevent it from spreading behind your eye or even into your brain. This can usually be accomplished through outpatient surgery in a clinic, such as as Strnot Dermatology, or, in some cases, by freezing the carcinoma off with liquid nitrogen.
What should you consider when deciding whether to have this carcinoma removed from your eyelid?
Although it's generally a good idea to have this growth surgically removed or frozen off as soon as it's definitively diagnosed as basal cell carcinoma, there are a few situations in which putting off this surgery -- at least temporarily -- may be your best bet.
Your first reason to delay is if you're already undergoing treatment for cancer in another part of your body. During the cancer treatment process, it's crucial to conserve your strength -- and undergoing local or general anesthesia for a growth that shouldn't cause any complications if it's permitted to remain until after your treatment is finished isn't usually the best idea.
You'll also want to schedule your carcinoma removal surgery for after any cataract surgery you have planned. Having cataracts removed will require you to keep your eyes moist during the recovery process, and having a growth removed from your eyelid can sometimes cause temporary dryness.